As of 2014, the United States Marine Corps gives out the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart medals. It also awards the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Other medals include the Navy Marine Distinguished Service Military Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.
Each medal has its own criteria for citation. The Medal of Honor is the highest U.S. Armed Forces award, and is bestowed by the president of the United States to armed-services members who have distinguished themselves with courage and heroism during war or in conflict with an enemy. The Navy Cross medal and the Silver Star medal are also awarded for courage and heroism exhibited in less dangerous situations and are slightly less prestigious than the Medal of Honor. The Purple Heart medal has been awarded since 1917 to marines who have been killed or wounded during service. This medal is sometimes awarded posthumously. The Bronze Star medal has been awarded since 1941 for distinguished service during ground conflict. The Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal have both been awarded since 1961 to officers who have accomplished better-than-average goals and distinguished themselves with above-average performance in combat and physical tests.